The joy and privilege of working with each and every person who contributed to this recording project fills my heart. From the original vision of gifting the world with new social justice songs to this very moment, there have been many, MANY people tending to this precious garden. It’s the combined loving effort of everyone involved that brings us to this point in time, where these eight songs will now find their wings. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity given to me to participate and I hope the messages contained in each song will give voice to those who are feeling deep concern. Music brings hope and hope brings inspiration. May we all be inspired enough to act and to shape the future we wish to see.
Joe and Steve
Following the dramatic changes that took place in our government in 2016, we felt compelled to answer the call of this project. The title and refrain of our song reflect the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel who explained why he, as a traditional Jew, could march in protest on Shabbat with Dr. Martin Luther King on March 21, 1965. Heschel was quoted as saying: “When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.” Those who march on behalf of the innocent, the undocumented, the oppressed and persecuted are true heroes. This song is both an acknowledgement and an invitation to join in the ranks of the marchers.
During these tumultuous times, it’s easy to feel helpless. But when I see my role models in the music community putting so much of their energy into creating a network of support and connection, I feel greatly inspired to participate. I’m grateful to have an outlet to express my feelings of concern for the world, and at least some small way of contributing in the struggle for a better world.
Our Jewish texts feel particularly relevant and urgent now, and it’s an honor to help bring new sounds to our cherished teachings. I hope this music sparks change and brings inspiration for many generations to come.
When the grandmother of one of my b’nei mitzvah students commissioned a song for her bat mitzvah, I found the perfect inspiration: a precocious young woman who, at 12, already walked the talk of social justice and world-healing (tikkun olam), with a stunning sense of purpose and passion. It was so clear: everything she does puts more love in the world. As a full-fledged “God wrestler” (the translation of the word “Yisrael”), in a life-long journey to divine my own purpose, I found an alignment with this young woman that felt worthy of sharing – after all aren’t we all here primarily to put more love in the world?
Working on this album has been one of the greatest joys of my life. When Billy asked me to travel to Nashville and record the vocals on his song, More Love, I felt honored and privileged. The song has such an inspiring message, and I’m thrilled to play a small part in sharing that message with the world. I can’t think of anything we need more of in the world right now than love, and this song beautifully captured that sentiment.
Having had the privilege of hearing all of the songs as they were being recorded was a great honor. I’ve never heard such inspirational music! I believe that music in general is incredibly valuable in the arts of learning, teaching, and worshipping, and we can use it to change the world around us. Being a part of the social justice album has made me feel like I am actively doing my part to work towards better equally and social justice for all. I’m eternally grateful for having been given the chance.
With so much anger and divisiveness surrounding us, I realized that only music could be powerful enough to bring people together. The experience of recording in Nashville is one that I will always remember. So many talented singers and musicians in one room. The whole production was seamless and really was a testament to everyone’s belief in the work we were doing together.
At a time when it feels as if the very fabric of our society is being torn apart, it has been so affirming to work with this extraordinary community of artists to bring to life this meaningful collection of songs. I am reminded that while all it takes is one voice to move others to action – it is all the more powerful when lots of voices join together, In beautiful harmony, inspiring others to work to build the kind of world in which we all wish to live.
It feels very personal to me, that our civil liberties safety and dignity are being challenged. I am feeling such a tremendous divide in my country, my state, neighborhood and world. Rather than succumb to the idea of “Us vs. Them,” I want to be a voice of peace and unity. I have a mantra that I say daily which is; “I will walk as an example of the world I want to live in.” When governments and representatives can only fight with one another, I believe that music can unite our voices and hearts. When we each “remember” that at the core, we are all connected, and all want to love and be loved, then we do the real work of healing this great divide.
Judaism is about making the world a better place, to be human in a time of inhumanity. Judaism teaches us to bring justice to the oppressed, to break the chains of slavery, to stand up for the one who cannot stand. This project gave me an opportunity to stand up when I needed a little boost myself. The most marginalized members of our human family, no matter where they come from, deserve Sanctuary. This project put wind in my sails and motivated me to take action, with the guitar, with the pen, with my feet and my voice.
I sing off key. But songs that ignite our best selves to strive for a better world have always inspired me – and my generation-in the fight for social justice. The fight for a world we want goes on, with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism leading our Movement . It was this need that sparked the desire for the creation of new songs to deal with new realities. With the generosity of eight wonderful artists who contributed their enormous talents, “Together as One “ was born, with all proceeds to support the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.